What can be done to help families cut food waste which would save the average UK family £60 a month and have a positive environmental impact?

To answer this question, in collaboration with Unilever, we conducted extensive consultation involving over 200 organisations in the food industry and undertook public polling of 1,000 people. One of the themes to emerge was a concern that - despite the plethora of TV cooking programmes - we have a whole new generation who lack culinary skills. The consultation revealed a desire to build skills and knowledge so that people can get the most value from their food.

Eager to learn more we undertook further research which confirmed that essential cooking skills are at risk of being lost as children are not being given the time or opportunity to cook with their family.

The survey of 1,000 UK parents which explored family cooking habits revealed that eight out of 10 parents wish they had more time to teach their children to cook and over half expressed a concern that their children won’t have the skills needed to cook a meal for themselves when they grow up. The survey also indicated a growing reliance on convenience foods as the number of British families eating a home cooked meal at least six nights a week plummeted from around half (47%) 30 years ago to just 15% today.

Re-skilling a generation will require a shift across society with our education establishments having a key role. This will take time, but there are also changes that can take place in our family lives. With six in ten parents admitting to never cooking a meal from scratch with their children and only one in ten managing this more than once a week, there is clearly an opportunity to bring families and generations closer together and pass on traditional recipes and essential cooking skills.

To kick-start this change, with Unilever we ran a #CookSomethingGrand campaign using Grandparents Day as the hook to encourage a sharing of cooking skills between the generations. The approach struck a chord with celebrity chefs sun as Valentine Warner getting involved in debates on Channel 5 News.

We've started to create a range of educational videos, recipes and guidance which are available to others who are running food waste campaigns or are encouraging more children to cook. Hopefully the active involvement of major companies such as Unilever combined with the grass-root connections of community groups will start to see a whole new generation learn the art of cooking helping them to value food more, cut waste and save money.